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Beauty And Productivity: The Case Of The Ladies Professional Golf Association

  • SEUNG CHAN AHN
  • YOUNG HOON LEE

There is much evidence that attractive looking workers earn more than average-looking workers, even after controlling for a variety of individual characteristics. The presence of such beauty premiums may influence the labor supply decisions of attractive workers. For example, if one unit of a product by an attractive worker is more rewarded than that by her less attractive coworker, the attractive worker may put more effort into improving her productivity. We examine this possibility by analyzing panel data for individual female golfers participating in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour. We find that attractive golfers record lower average scores and earn more prize money than average-looking players, even when controlling for player experience and other variables related to their natural talents. This finding is consistent with the notion that physical appearance is associated with individual workers' accumulation of human capital or skills. If the human capital of attractive workers is at least partly an outcome of favoritism toward beauty, then the premium estimates obtained by many previous studies may have been downwardly biased.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 32 (2014)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 155-168

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Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:32:y:2014:i:1:p:155-168
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  1. Pfann, Gerard A. & Biddle, Jeff E. & Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Bosman, Ciska M., 2000. "Business success and businesses' beauty capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 201-207, May.
  2. Fletcher, Jason M., 2009. "Beauty vs. brains: Early labor market outcomes of high school graduates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(3), pages 321-325, December.
  3. Jeff E. Biddle & Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1995. "Beauty, Productivity and Discrimination: Lawyers' Looks and Lucre," NBER Working Papers 5366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Biddle, Jeff E, 1994. "Beauty and the Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1174-94, December.
  5. Anindya Sen & Marcel-Cristian Voia & Frances R. Woolley, 2010. "Hot or Not: How Appearance Affects Earnings and Productivity in Academia," Carleton Economic Papers 10-07, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  6. Harold Fried & Loren Tauer, 2011. "The impact of age on the ability to perform under pressure: golfers on the PGA tour," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 75-84, February.
  7. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Parker, Amy, 2005. "Beauty in the classroom: instructors' pulchritude and putative pedagogical productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 369-376, August.
  8. Stephen Shmanske, 2007. "Consistency or Heroics: Skewness, Performance, and Earnings on the PGA TOUR," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 35(4), pages 463-471, December.
  9. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2005. "Changing Looks and Changing "Discrimination:" The Beauty of Economists," NBER Working Papers 11712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Markus M. Mobius & Tanya S. Rosenblat, 2006. "Why Beauty Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 222-235, March.
  11. Berri, David J. & Simmons, Rob & Van Gilder, Jennifer & O'Neill, Lisle, 2011. "What does it mean to find the face of the franchise? Physical attractiveness and the evaluation of athletic performance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 200-202, June.
  12. David Kalist, 2008. "Does Motherhood Affect Productivity, Relative Performance, and Earnings?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 219-235, September.
  13. Fiona Carmichael & Dennis Thomas & Robert Ward, 2001. "Production and Efficiency in Association Football," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(3), pages 228-243, August.
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